Q. “Rab” Butler, Churchill’s Minister of Education (1941-45) and Chancellor of the Exchequer (1951-55), recalled that Churchill once told him he was doing less for the war effort than Churchill’s grey cat Nelson, who saved fuel and power by acting as a Prime Ministerial hot-water bottle. True?
Which newspapers did Churchill prefer? I am particularly interested in 1919, when he was Secretary of State for War and Air. Was he a Times or Telegraph reader? —J.W., via email
Awaiting his train at St. Andrews, Fife, circa 1940.
Remarkably, Churchill read all the newspapers he could lay his hands on—from The Times to the Daily Worker, the British version of which was later renamed the Morning Star.
He would do this in bed of a morning after breakfasting off a tray. He liked to discard each sheet of a newspaper to the left and right. In the 1940s this infuriated his valet, Frank Sawyers, who made a show of disapproval as he picked up the sheets.…